This will be the last season that James Jones puts on the Green and Gold. It will also be the end, for now, of the Packers paying their third best wide receiver just over three million a year and its all due to the production of Jarrett Boykin. I think most Packer fans would say Jones is the best option as a number three receiver and that he should be re-signed. What would you say if I told you the numbers do not agree?
James Jones is in the last year of his contract, a three year deal which he did not sign until late in the offseason going into the 2011 season. When Jones entered his first stint of free agency the results were not what he had expected. Teams seeking a wide receiver of James Jones’ caliber had their eyes on a different dollar amount than Jones and company were expecting. After a long wait, and the lobbying of Aaron Rodgers to the Packers brass, Jones was brought back to Green Bay. This next offseason, however, may not yield the same results.
Jarrett Boykin has taken full advantage of the opportunity in front of him. Boykin, a 6 foot 2 inch, 218 pound, second year, undrafted player out of Virginia Tech is making his case to be the Packers third receiver going forward. According to ESPN, Boykin and Jones are close in yardage this year, but the catch to target ratio is a little better for Boykin. Jones has 692 yards with 44 catches on 74 targets. Boykin has 619 yards with 42 catches on 65 targets. Jones is leading in snaps played with 713 to Boykin’s 563. However, with the production being so even thats not a good thing.
Now, I know what some of you are saying right now, “Jones missed two more games than Boykin this year. His production is going to be lower than normal.” This is where I turn to ProFootballFocus.com to show you who has had more value this season. ProFootballFocus.com ranks each individual player based on their productivity on each and every play. They use a point scale to rate player productivity. They then assign players a ranking based on said productivity.
When looking at the overall ratings from this season between the Packers receivers, Jordy Nelson leads the group with a rating of 17.6, this puts him in seventh in the league. Jones and Boykin are a bit lower than that, but Boykin finds himself ahead of Jones by 4 with a rating of 4.8, this puts Boykin in 43rd in the league. If you have been able to follow along, you now understand that Jones has a rating of just .8 this season, which ties him as 67th most productive receiver in the league.
One of the things that put it into perspective for me was the names that surround Jones and Boykin in the rankings. Boykin is found in the same area as Dwayne Bowe and T.Y. Hilton. Jones is in much lesser company in the rankings than what most Packer fans would have thought. He can be found in the same neighborhood as Dane Sanzenbacher and Justin Blackmon. With Jarrett Boykin surprising Packer fans this season with great catches in huge moments it is easy to see that he has earned a chance at a bigger role. According to spotrac.com, Jarrett Boykin has one more year left on his contract with a cap hit of $570,000. Jones is at the end of a deal that gave him an average salary of $3,233,333.
Side note: I found it very enjoyable to see that Greg Jennings is 46th in the league with a 4.4.
As Packer fans we know that Ted Thompson will always lean toward younger talent at a lower cost. James Jones will make a considerable amount more than Jarrett Boykin in 2014. With the Packers needing to sign players like B.J. Raji, Sam Shields, Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson in the next few seasons, they will have to let someone go. James Jones is the most likely candidate to get the axe. A big part of it is that Nelson and Cobb will tie up a large amount of money in 2015 and the the Packers cannot afford to put a giant amount of money into one player group. Sad to say it but, for next season, James Jones will have to find another city to call home.